On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the Democrats voting and campaign finance reform legislation. This particular bill has lofty intentions that include the ability to expand access to the polls, fight partisan gerrymandering as well as to bring in public funding for campaigns.
As is the recent norm, the For the People Act 2021, also called H.R. 1 was voted 220 to 210. No Republican joined the House in passing the bill, which aims to bring about sweeping reforms on voting rights. It now moves to the Senate.
It will face a tough road as the Senate is split 50-50 between the Democrats and Republicans. The legislation requires 60 senate votes to advance and this means that it requires votes from the GOP.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on Wednesday, prior to the passage of the H.R. 1. She said that this legislation is called For the People bill as it would combat the big, dark, special-interest money in politics and it would also “amplify the voice of the American people.”
The bill aims to set up a new public financing system for congressional and presidential candidates. It gives incentives to small or grassroots level donations rather than big corporate funds which are allegedly mired in conspiracy and may have hidden agendas lurking behind the donations.
The legislation would give a 6:1 match for a candidate up to $200. For example if a candidate donates $100 to a House candidate, $600 would be added from public funds, making the total contribution $700.
Money for this public funds program will be obtained from a surcharge of 4.75% surcharge on corporations that will be levied on criminal and civil penalties that they recompense to the U.S. government.
The Congress Budget Office, which has members from both the parties, recently estimated that an amount of approximately $3.2 billion could be generated from this new type of revenue in 10 years.
Other reforms include automatic voter registration, restoration of voting rights to felons who have completed their sentence, expansion of early voting access and provisions for absentee voting.
It also restrains voter roll purges, partisan gerrymandering, amended campaign finance rules and requires10 year tax returns of presidential nominees.
Republicans slammed the bill saying voters want integrity and trust and reforms like Voter ID.